Learning Difficulties Australia


Professional Learning

Weekly Wednesday Webinars

Learning Difficulties Australia would like to offer a free webinar series to engage with our membership and the wider educational community in Australia. As the name suggests, each Wednesday we will offer a webinar at 6pm. This is intended to support members’ professional development during the current pandemic and into the future.

Our presenters will be a mix of local and international educators who will present on a range of topics aligned to the aims of LDA.

WWW #4 Dr Kate de Bruin

Using universal design principles to support learning, participation and progress for every student

Dr Kate de Bruin is a lecturer in the field of inclusion and disability at Monash University.  Her research examines the implementation of inclusive education across the pipeline through policy, systems, schools, and classrooms, focusing on practices that are evidence-based and ensure equitable schooling for all. Her current projects explore differentiated classroom practices and learning interventions that fit within Tiers 1 and 2 of multi-tiered systems of support. Kate is a co-convenor of the AARE Inclusive Education Special Interest Group.

The design of many activities, lessons, and assessment tasks disadvantage some students by placing unnecessary and often unintentional barriers to taking in information or demonstrating learning. These barriers mean some students are unable to showcase what they know or what they can do. In this webinar Kate will present information about Universal Design principles. These principles can be used by teachers to identify the barriers that make learning and achievement inaccessible for some students. They can also be used by teachers to proactively design resources and activities that enable all students to learn and demonstrate new content and skills, rather than retrospectively adapting materials for a small number of students.

The session will be hosted on Zoom. It will commence at 6pm and last for approximately 30-40 minutes. 

Time: June 3, 2020 06:00 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney.

To access WWW #4, register herehttps://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0rc--hqzIpG9PoWivr3K9_-4MJSUmiITGH


WWW #5 Steven Capp

Building teacher efficacy towards evidence informed practice

Steven Capp is the Principal of Bentleigh West Primary School in Melbourne, which has become recognised for its adoption of evidence-based teaching practices, particularly in the area of reading and mathematics. He has worked across the primary and secondary school sectors as an educational leader for the past 15 years. Steven has a Masters of School Leadership from Melbourne University and has worked with schools and across Australia in bridging the gap from research to practice. He served on the expert advisory panel to the Federal Government for Year 1 Literacy and Numeracy Checks in 2017.

In WWW#5, Steven will provide an account of Bentleigh West Primary School’s experience in building teacher efficacy towards evidence informed practice and explain how leadership has had to support the development and learning of teachers in planning and in the classroom. He will point out that some of their previous models were asking teachers to do the impossible and that an evidence informed professional development approach has been crucial to establishing teacher efficacy.

The session will be hosted on Zoom. It will commence at 6pm and last for approximately 30-40 minutes. 

Time: June 10, 2020 06:00 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney.

To access WWW #5register here


WWW #6 Dr Sally Robinson-Kooi 

EAL/D or LD? Preparing classroom teachers to teach English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) students

Dr Sally Robinson-Kooi is an independent literacy and TESOL consultant working with diverse socio-economic groups and non-English background communities. Her PhD research examined the effectiveness of using Explicit Instruction for the teaching of spelling; the depth of teacher knowledge of word structure; and teacher pedagogical practices. Sally provides professional development courses to schools and has presented at the Language, Literacy and Learning Conference.


There has been less research conducted regarding the identification, assessment, and development of intervention strategies for at-risk EAL/D students compared to native English speakers. This presentation features recent research on current best practice for assessing and teaching typically developing English language learner students and those who may also have a learning difficulty.

It highlights a learning progression for EAL/D students and identifies possible learning difficulty behaviours. It also explores common issues that students may face when learning a new language; assessment methods; and how to optimise student achievement using effective instructional approaches.

Time: June 17, 2020 06:00 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney.

To access WWW #6register here


Previous Weekly Wednesday Webinar Recordings

Recording of previously held webinars can be found on our LDA YouTube channel.

WWW #1 Lyn Stone: Metalanguage

WWW #2 David Morkunas: Spaced Practice & Interleaving

WWW #3 Dr Kate Jacobs: School-based reasonable adjustments & the VCAA Special Examinations Arrangements





Dr Jan Hasbrouck Tour POSTPONED

Unfortunately, due to the recent Australian Government travel restrictions imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19, we have had to postpone the Jan Hasbrouck Australian tour. We have already discussed alternative dates with Jan, but we will obviously wait until this situation is at a point that enables us to make decisions before announcing these. Anyone who has purchased a ticket will be refunded in full.

Other Professional Learning 

This section provides a listing of non-LDA  professional learning opportunities of relevance to the area of learning difficulties. All external events are publicised at LDA's discretion, but LDA accepts no responsibility for their value or the evidence base of what may be promoted.

Online Learning

A Free Online CourseSupporting Children with Difficulties in Reading and Writing Click here for details.

A new online course in teaching systematic synthetic phonics & its integration with wider reading, spelling and writing. Click here for details.

SPELD PD events

See individual state SPELD websites for information regarding relevant PD in the area of learning difficulties in each state. For State SPELD contact details go to http://auspeld.org.au/state-associations

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Past Professional Learning

The Center for Effective Reading Instruction and the International Dyslexia Association have developed a self-paced online course on reading instruction, with nine pre and post tested modules to teach the critical skills for proficient reading, writing and assessment, and best practices that support students’ acquisition of these skills. This free online course, and option to attain certification, is offered on the Reading Rockets 101 website


Professor Maggie Snowling - Dyslexia, Language and Learning to Read

Professor Maggie Snowling, President of St John's College Oxford and Professor of Psychology at the University of Oxford, visited Australia and spoke at the Australian National University on ‘Dyslexia, Language and Learning to Read’ on 25th July, 2017, to a sold out crowd. LDA is very grateful to Professor Snowling, and the ANU, for granting permission to provide an audio of this event for LDA.

Past Professional Learning Events 2019


Brisbane 20-21 September 2019.

The keynote speakers were Dr Jennifer Buckingham and Mr Bruce Sullivan. Topics presented involved technology, reading, writing, spelling, mathematics, cognition, assessment and working in a team approach. 

August 2019 – Dr David Kilpatrick National Tour

Recent Advances in Understanding Word-Level Reading Problems: Assessment and Highly Effective Intervention
David presented full-day sessions in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Cairns and Sydney, focusing on how children learn to read words and why some struggle. Understanding word level reading development and its problems will guide both assessment and intervention. Once we understand how reading works and why some children struggle, the reasons why some commonly used intervention approaches provide limited benefits while others can yield very large gains for such students becomes clear, and then the focus is on establishing the best instructional and intervention practices.

LDA members can access the David Kilpatrick session notes under Resources by logging into the Members Only Section of the website.

Past Conferences, Seminars & Workshops

Past Professional Learning Events, 2019

Past Professional Learning Events, 2018

Past Professional Learning Events, 2017

Past Professional Learning Events. 2016

Past Professional Learning Events. 2015

Past Professional Learning Events, 2014

Past Professional Learning Events, 2013

Victorian Workshops 2012

Sir Jim Rose visit 2009

Past Conferences 1996-2008

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Dr Kate Jacobs (B.A., Post.Grad.Dip.Psych., PhD/M.Psych., MAPS, MCEDP) is an Educational and Developmental Psychologist and university lecturer in psychological assessment. In addition to lecturing and conducting research on cognitive theory and assessment, Kate is the Principal Psychologist at Raise the Bar Psychology, a private practice that provides assessment and intervention for learning difficulties.



Kate will present on school-based reasonable adjustments and the VCAA Special Examinations Arrangements (SEA) Applications for students with Specific Learning Disorders including dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia.


The design of many activities, lessons, and assessment tasks
disadvantage some students by placing unnecessary and often
unintentional barriers to taking in information or demonstrating
learning. These barriers mean some students are unable to showcase
what they know or what they can do. In this webinar I will present
information about Universal Design principles. These principles can
be used by teachers to identify the barriers that make learning and
achievement inaccessible for some students. They can also be used by
teachers to proactively design resources and activities that enable
all students to learn and demonstrate new content and skills, rather
than retrospectively adapting materials for a small number of

Sally Robinson-Kooi 

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